A child protection workshop got underway Saturday morning for 45 Life Skills coaches and Physical Education teachers.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) and UNICEF partnered with the National Lotteries After School Programme (NLA ASP) in organizing the one-day event.
Secretary of the NLA ASP, Martina James-Charlery, who represents the Saint Lucia Athletics Association, told St Lucia Times that the goal of the NLA ASP is to expose children to as many sporting disciplines and to help improve their lives through life skills classes and activities.
“They are taught to deal with conflict; how to communicate effectively,” she stated.
“The coaches play a key role in the athletic development of the children and the workshops are all geared towards educating them,” James-Charlery stated.
She disclosed that the focus of Saturday’s workshop is on best practices – understanding abuse and how it can affect a child.
“How to guard and protect not only themselves as coaches, but the children whom they coach,” James-Charlery noted.
She observed that child abuse is a problem in Saint Lucia.
“It is for this reason we feel that educating our coaches as to all the different forms of abuse and all the different forms of neglect would help them in dealing with the children; identifying the children who need counselling – the intervention from human services, the district counsellors and help in changing certain behavioural patterns,” James-Charlery explained.
“We are hoping this will educate them sufficiently so that when dealing with kids on the field they would be able to identify the kids in need of intervention,” she stated.
According to James-Charlery, the one-day session is also intended to help raise children who are more goal oriented and understand and appreciate that life does not mean getting involved in criminal activity.
“There is a purpose to life and hopefully this programme will provide children with the forum where they can be exposed to as many sports as possible, but understand that they have talents and they can use those talents to move forward in life,” she told St Lucia Times.
She disclosed that apart from Saturday’s one-day event, training is also being done covering subjects such as emotional intelligence and conflict management and resolution.
James-Charlery said the after school programme began in July last year and starts from 3.00 p.m when children leave school and ends at 5.00 p.m.